Drinking in Adolescence Increases Adult Addiction Risk

By Staff Writer

Providing adolescents with substance abuse help at the first signs of alcohol addiction may be important to enabling them to live a successful life. A new study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research shows that youths who drink at a young age are more likely to become alcoholics as adults.

For the study, researchers from Indiana University surveyed nearly 600 18-year-olds about their alcohol use. The assessment asked participants about whether or not they had ever fought with friends or family members because of alcohol, in addition to other questions. The researchers then examined the participants for signs of alcohol addiction seven years later.

They found that participants who reported the most drinking-related problems during adolescence were significantly more likely to show signs of alcoholism in early adulthood.

The researchers said that youths who drink may feel less inhibition. This is a characteristic that is likely to stay with a person into adulthood. However, the findings could help parents and physicians identify children who would benefit from drug rehab programs, allowing them to change their behavior as early as possible.